Pacific Coast Highway—need I say more? For anyone who even remotely craves the place where ocean meets land, this is the road to travel (officially called California State Route 1). While our chosen mode of transport is a Victory Cross Country touring bike (for those not enlightened, it’s a pretty, red motorcycle), driving any type of conveyance along this road is worth the trip. Last Fourth of July weekend, however, we discovered a new twist (literally) traveling the coast of central California.
Just south of Big Sur, the PCH remained closed due to landslides. Heading to Paso Robles for wine tasting, we chose Nacimiento-Fergusson Road through the Santa Lucia Range, reaching an elevation of 2,780 feet. The road is described as well-paved and winding with precipitous drops—translation: no guard rails. The sensation of being terrified and excited all at once is what this journey instills. Calling it a two-lane road is a stretch, but the amazing view of the ocean and surrounding forest is worth the cheek-puckering ride. Being a passenger, my writer’s mind was fully engaged, and snippets of those thoughts will appear in my next book. It helped knowing there would be a glass of cabernet on the other side. Oh, the lengths I go to further my craft!
Title: Photographs In Time
Author/pen name: Terry Segan
Genre: Mystery, Time Travel, Romance
Publisher: Amazon KDP
Date of Publication: November 5, 2018
Number of pages: 311
Word Count: 97,000
Blurb: What if the love of your life was born decades earlier?
Trying to reason with the distraught woman before me, I attempted a brief explanation of the process that led her to this time. “Amanda, somehow the Collector got this one wrong. All of the men are supposed to be thoroughly checked out and cleared as Suitors.”
Amanda snapped her head back and glared at me. “Collector? What Collector? You’re not making any sense.”
“Please, we’ve only got minutes left. The Collector interviews and researches the history of the men for a match then I, as the Photographer, match a Betrothed with an appropriate Suitor. Somehow, the photographs got switched. I didn’t know he was an imposter. Amanda, we can talk about this later. There’s too much to explain. Trust me. You’re in danger, Ronald isn’t the man he seems to be.” Why couldn’t I have found her sooner? I don’t blame her for not wanting to believe me. I needed more time.
“Amanda, honey, you have to come back with me now,” I implored the young woman.
“But you said I belong here. Ronald is my perfect match. Sami, you can’t dangle that in front of me then snatch it away. You just can’t!”
Taking Amanda’s hands in mine, I tried again, “Look at me, honey. You must believe me. I was wrong about Ronald. He isn’t who we think he is at all. Please, we’re running out of time. I had twenty-four hours to find you and time is almost up. We only have eleven more minutes.”
“How could you be wrong? Ronald is a sweet and loving soul. I knew from the moment I gazed into his eyes. All I saw there was love—for me! Nobody has ever looked at me the way he looks at me.”
“We have to leave now. I will explain more when we get back.”
“Back!? Sami, I’m not going back.” Panic crossed her features, and she yanked her hands out of mine. Eyes widening, she looked around as if surrounded by wild animals poised to pounce. “No. I won’t lose everything.”
A lock of silver hair drifted across my cheek as I risked a glance at my Timex. Tucking the strand behind my ear, I see my window slipping away. Only eight minutes left. It had to be enough.
Closing my eyes a moment, I searched for the right words to get Amanda to listen to reason—a tough sell in this already bizarre situation. I had to try. I wouldn’t lose another one!
Gently, I reached out and took Amanda’s hands again. I wasn’t completely sure this would work, but if we stayed firmly connected, we should both be transported. Theoretically, my Collector said this would work. He himself had never done it before, but he knew of another who had tried. Unfortunately, that Collector loosened his grip at the moment of departure and only a portion of the other traveler returned with him.
Even if Amanda didn’t believe me, I could keep talking and hope she wouldn't realize my plan. Suddenly the clock slowed. A moment ago, time moved swiftly, yet now when I needed it to expire, the minutes lagged. I mentally willed Amanda, Just stay connected.
The younger woman looked lost—the effect exaggerated with her short, oversized dress cinched in at the waist, engulfing her petite frame.
Luck had been on my side. I found Amanda at the bed and breakfast she set up residence in while being courted by Ronald. We always required the Suitor to offer a safe living space for the Betrothed for three to six months during their courtship.
Getting her alone without drawing the attention of the innkeeper came easily. I wore an outfit befitting the time period and blended in well. We found Amanda nestled on a couch, paging through a copy of Good Housekeeping Magazine dated June 1963, the current month. It featured a picture of a woman wearing a bathing cap that looked like a head of lettuce.
Since she obviously recognized me, the proprietor had discreetly allowed us privacy and left the room.
The moments ticked down. “Honey,” I played for time, “I know you had your hopes up, and this can all be set right.” Only seconds remained. All I had to do was hold tight and keep her attention focused on me.
The younger woman’s breathing slowed as my sense of forced serenity washed over her. The tense crinkles on Amanda’s forehead smoothed.
Risking a glance at my watch, I saw the second-hand pass nine and then ten. Ten seconds to go.
“Amanda! Who is this woman?” demanded a stern looking man from the study door, his six-foot two-inch stature filling the frame. “What is she doing to you?”
Whipping her head around, Amanda snapped her hands from my grasp. “No,” I screamed, as I stared into those now familiar, icy blue eyes.
A menacing smile spread across his face, looking even more demonic beneath his red hair. He mouthed the words, “You lose again.”
I lunged forward in a desperate effort to grab the younger woman back to me. Despite my sixty-two years, I was as agile as I had been at forty-two. But it didn’t matter. Time was up.
Terry Segan currently calls the state of Nevada home. Most weekends she can be found riding backseat on a red Victory Cross Country Tour, heading for the beach, mountains or anywhere else her gypsy soul cares to wander. Exploring new places, be it cities or backroads, is a passion she shares with her boyfriend, who indulges these travel cravings every chance he gets. The musings conjured by her imagination while riding on the back of the bike can be found throughout the pages of her writing.
Author website and social media links:
Blog: Musings From the Back of the Bike – https://terrysegan.com/
Facebook Page: Photographs In Time